George Will is a man from another time (via Digby). Discussing what Obama ought to do about Afghanistan, a roundtable of roundtable generals "weighed in" on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
NOONAN: “I think it is an old cliché in Washington that a leader, a president must be both feared and revered. I think this president's problems don't have to do with his personality and fearsomeness. I think it has to do with policy issues.”
DIONNE: “It takes a lot more toughness to say to your generals, "No," or, "Tell me why you really want to do this," than it does to go along with the generals. So I think on that front, it's wrong.
WILL: “The danger is that this narrative about him not being tough enough occurs in the midst of, A.) the argument about Afghanistan, where to prove you're tough, you might want to escalate, and, B.) when he has to make a decision about the public option. One thing he could do is jettison the public option, offend his left and make himself look moderate, but can he offend his left on the public option and escalate in Vietnam — in Afghanistan?”
TAPPER: “No, I don't think so. What you hear from — from them, when you ask them about this narrative, is, yes, we've heard this before. Is he tough enough to beat Hillary Clinton? Is he tough enough to beat John McCain? I think they think that they proved — I think empirically they proved that — that he was able to do both those things. “
KRUGMAN: “I think a lot of people are basically just complaining that he's a Democrat.”
What do you think?
In Viet Nam?
Aside from that, notice the clever use of the impersonal: "this narrative about him not being tough enough occurs." Why doesn't he say, we tell this narrative about him–in other words, we characterize him as not being tough enough, or we make this a question of cojones, or some other manly property (when it really ought to be a narrative about wise policy)?